Epistemology of Research on Radiation and Matter: a Structural View

  • 1 CFCUL,
  • 2

Abstract

The modern understanding of radiation got its start in 1895 with X-rays discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen, followed in 1896 by Henri Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity. The development of the study of radiation opened a vast field of research concerning various disciplines: chemistry, physics, biology, geology, sociology, ethics, etc. Additionally, new branches of knowledge were created, such as atomic and nuclear physics that enabled an in-depth knowledge of the matter. Moreover, during the historical evolution of this body of knowledge a wide variety of new technologies was emerging. This article seeks to analyze the characteristics of experimental research in radioactivity and microphysics, in particular the relationship experience-theory. It will also be emphasized that for more than two decades, since the discovery of radioactivity, experiments took place without the theory being able to follow experimental dynamics. Some aspects identified as structural features of scientific research in the area of radiation and matter will be addressed through historical examples. The inventiveness of experiments in parallel with the emergence of quantum mechanics, the formation of teams and their relationship with technology developed from the experiments, as well as the evolution of microphysics in the sense of “Big Science” will be the main structural characteristics here focused. The case study of research in radioactivity in Portugal that assumes a certain importance and has structural characteristics similar to those of Europe will be presented.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Anderson, H., E.T. Booth, E, Dunning, J., Fermi, E., Glasoe, G. and Slack, F., 1939, The Fission of Uranium. Physical Review, 55 (5): 511.

  • APS (American Physical Society) News, 2004, Lens Crafters Circa 1590: Invention of the Microscope, March 2004, APS News (Volume 13, Number 3), This Month in Physics History.

  • Arabatzis, T., 1992, The discovery of the Zeemann effect: a case study of the interplay between theory and experiment, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 23, 3, 364–388.

  • Baird, D., 2004, Thing Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments, Berkeley, University of California Press.

  • Basdevant, J.L., Rich, J. and Spiro, M., 2005, Fundamentals in Nuclear Physics: From Nuclear Structure to Cosmology, New York, Springer, 107–171.

  • Bernal, J., 1953, Science and Industry in the nineteenth Century, New York, Routledge.

  • Bethe, H., 1939, Energy Production in Stars. Physical Review, 55, 434–456. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1103.)

  • Beyer, R., 1949, Foundations of Nuclear Physics, New York, Dover Publications.

  • Blundell, S., 2009, Superconductivity: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

  • Bohr, Niels,1913, On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules, Part II Systems Containing Only a Single Nucleus”, Philosophical Magazine, 26 (153): 476–502, doi:10.1080/14786441308634993.

  • Broglie, L. 1970, The reinterpretation of wave mechanics, Foundations of Physics, 1, 5–15, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00708650.

  • Chadwick, J., 1932, The Existence of a Neutron. Proceedings of the Royal Society A., 136, 692–708.

  • Darrigol, O., 2000, Electrodynamics from Ampère to Einstein, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

  • Davies, P. (ed), 1992, The New Physics: A Synthesis, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

  • Dirac, 1928 The Quantum Theory of the Electron, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A, 117, pp. 610–624.

  • Doyle, B., 2018, Quantum Physics and Information Philosophy, Retrieved January 25, 2018, from Information Philosopher Web site http://www.informationphilosopher.com/quantum/.

  • Feynman, R., Leighton, R. and Sands, M., 1964. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 3., The Feynman Lectures Website, http://www.feynman-lectures.info/.

  • Fihn, B. and Thurlow, S., 2018, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) – NobelLecture, <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2017/>.

  • Flakus, F., 1981, Detecting and measuring ionizing radiation, a short history, IAEA Bull., 23, 4.

  • Frame, P. The Crookes Spinthariscope, Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

  • Franklin A., 1986, The Neglect of Experiment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

  • Franklin, A., 2007, The Role of Experiments in the Natural Sciences: Examples from Physics and Biology, in General Philosophy of Science, Series: Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Elsevier B.V, 219–274.

  • Franklin, A. and Perovic, S., 2016, Experiment in Physics, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Zalta, E. (ed.), <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/physics-experiment/>.

  • Galison, P., 1997, Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

  • Glasser, O., 1933, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and the Early History of the Roentgen Rays (with Bibliography of 1044 items published during the first year after Roentgen’s discovery), London: John Bale, Sons & Danielson.

  • Greenpeace, https://www.greenpeace.org/archive-international/en/campaigns/nuclear/.

  • Hacking I., 1983 Representing and intervening, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

  • Hacking, I., 1984, Experimentation and Scientific Realism. in Jarrett Leplin (ed.), Scientific Realism, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.

  • Hill, D. 1996, A History of Engineering in Classical and Medieval Times, Cambridge, Routledge.

  • Kennedy, P., 1985, A Short Biography, in French, A. and Kennedy, P., Niels Bohr: A Centenary Volume. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

  • King, H., 2011, The History of the Telescope, 2011, New York, Dover Publications Inc..

  • Kleppner, D. and Kolenkow, R., 1973, An Introduction to Mechanics (2nd ed.). Boston, McGraw-Hill.

  • Lenoir, T., 1988, Practice, Reason, Context: The Dialogue Between Theory and Experiment, Science in Context, 2, 1, 3–22.

  • Lindell, I., 2009, The Long History of Electricity, Helsinki, Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press.

  • Maia, E., Serra, I. and Peres I., 2010, The gas discharges in history and teaching of physics and chemistry, Trav. Lab., IIBRC, L, II, 22–30, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257920437, (accessed, July, 2017).

  • McMillan, E., 1969,, Particle accelerators, in Segré, ed., Experimental Nuclear Physics, Vol. 3, New York, John Wiley and Sons.

  • Molinié, P. and Boudia, S., 2004, Une application méconnue et pourtant célèbre de l’électrostatique : les travaux de Marie Curie, de la découverte du radium à la métrologie de la radioactivité, Poitiers, 4ème Conférence de la Société Française d’Electrostatique.

  • Muller, H.,1927, Artificial Transmutation of the Gene. Science. 66, 84–87.

  • Nature Cell Biology 2009, Editorial, 11, 1165 (2009) doi:10.1038/ncb1009–1165.

  • Nicolaou, K., 2014, Organic synthesis: the art and science of replicating the molecules of living nature and creating others like them in the laboratory. Proc Math Phys Eng. Sci. 470, Mar 8; 470(2163): 20130690. doi: 10.1098/rspa.2013.0690.

  • Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), 1984, Nuclear Power in an Age of Uncertainty, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congress,OTA-E-216 - Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 84–601006.

  • Peres, I.M., 2005, O ensino da análise química espectral: Um compromisso entre químicos, fabricantes de Instrumentos científicos e professores, Master’s Degree Thesis, University of Lisbon.

  • Pickering, A., 1992, From Science as Knowledge to Science as Practice, in Science as Practice and Culture, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1–26.

  • Pleijel, H, 1932, Presentation speech of Heisenberg, Nobel Lectures, Physics 1922–1941, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1965.

  • Radder, H., 2009, The philosophy of scientific experimentation: a review, Automated Experimentation, 1:2.

  • Rocke, A., 2001, Nationalizing Science: Adolphe Wurtz and the Battle for French Chemistry, Cambridge MA, MIT Press.

  • Rose, S., 1991, The Chemistry of Life, London, Penguin Books.

  • Rossi, B., 1964, Cosmic Rays, New York, McGraw-Hill.

  • Rutherford, E., 1911, The Scattering of α and β Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom. Philosophical Magazine, Series 6, Volume 21, pp. 669–688 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786440508637080, accessed 2017).

  • Rutherford, E., 1914, The Structure of the Atom. Philosophical Magazine, Series 6, Vol. 27, pp. 488–498. (https://doi.org/10.1080/14786440308635117, accessed 2017).

  • Rutherford, E., 1919, Collision of α particles with light atoms III. Nitrogen and oxygen atoms. Philosophical Magazine, Series 6, 37, 571–580. (https://doi.org/10.1080/14786440608635918, accessed 2017).

  • Rutherford, E. and Soddy F., 1902, The cause and nature of radioactivity - Part I. Philosophical Magazine, Series 6, Vol. 4, 370–396 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14786440209462856, accessed 2017).

  • Rutherford, E. and Geiger, H., 1908, An electrical method of counting the number of α particles from radioactive substances, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, vol. 81, 546, 141–161.

  • Segrè, E., 1980, From X-Rays to Quarks: Modern Physicists and Their Discoveries, San Francisco, Freeman and Company.

  • Serra, I and Bragança Gil, F.,2010, The relevance of building scientific instruments, a case study, Trav. Lab., IIBRC, L, T. II, (https://www.academia.edu/5473999/ accessed July, 2017).

  • Serra, I., Maia, E. and Viegas, F., 2009, The electron a main actor in scientific discoveries, Organon, 41, 103–115.

  • Singer, C., 1941, A Short History of Science to the Nineteenth Century, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

  • Soler, L., Zwart, S., Lynch, M., Israel-Jost,V., 2014, Science After the Practice Turn in Philosophy, History, and the Social Studies of Science, New York, Routledge.

  • Stuewer, R., 1986, Rutherford’s satellite model of the nucleus. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 16, 321–352.

  • Ter Haar, D.,1967, The Old Quantum Theory, Pergamon Press, eBook ISBN: 9781483151960.

  • Weinberg, A., 1961, Impact of Large-Scale Science on the United States, Science. 134 (3473), 161–164.

  • Wilson, C., 1927, On the cloud method of making visible ions and the tracks of ionizing particles, Nobel Lectures, Physics 1922–1941, Amsterdam, Elsevier Publishing Company, 1965.

  • Woods, R., 2012, Biochemical Genetics, e-book, Springer Netherlands.

  • Zettili, N., 2009, Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and Applications, Chichester, Wiley.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search